A COMPARISON OF THE U.S. TO OTHER RICH NATIONS

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NOTE: Substantial portions of the following were reproduced with permission from WHERE WE STAND, by Michael Wolff, Peter Rutten, Albert Bayers III, and the World Rank Research Team (New York: Bantam Books, 1992). Copyright (c) 1992 by Michael Wolff & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of the contents of WHERE WE STAND may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the copyright owner. Requests for permission should be sent to Michael Wolff & Company, Inc., 520 Madison Avenue, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10022, phone 212-308-8100, fax 212-308-7425, or email to mwolff@ypn.com.
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The following statistics are a 1991 comparison of the United States with Northern Europe, Japan and Canada. The comparison is especially revealing because all these nations are more liberal and democratic than we are. Their voter turn-outs are 50 percent higher; their corporate lobbying systems are much less developed; their taxes are higher, their safety nets larger, their societies more equal, their labor unions stronger.

And what may depress many conservatives is that these nations beat us on statistic after statistic after statistic.

Table of Contents:
Standard of Living
Income Inequality
Health Care
Sex
Crime
Pollution
Work and Leisure Time
Democracy
Conclusion

STANDARD OF LIVING

The economic supremacy that the U.S. has enjoyed in the second half of this century owes much to the good fortune it enjoyed in the first half. Two world wars destroyed Europe and Japan, while the prosperity that comes from running a wartime economy turned America into an economic superpower. America held this advantage for decades, but in the last 20 years, Europe and Japan have been rapidly catching up, and in many areas overtaking us. There is a mundane explanation for this: developing nations grow much faster than already developed nations, much like a child grows faster than a teenager. But the fact that they are catching up and often by-passing us with societies that are more equal, democratic, liberal, pro-environmental and pro-labor presents a serious challenge to conservative thought.

First, let's take a look at overall tax rates as a percentage of the GDP. (All statistics are for 1991. See the following footnote for a comment on sources.1) Keep in mind that the two columns measure different things: the first, GDP, the second, personal income.
                 General rate        Top rate

                 (percent of GDP)    (percent of income)

Sweden           53.2%                45.0

Denmark          48.3                 40.0

Norway           47.1                 23.0

Netherlands      47.0                 72.0

Germany          39.2                 56.0

Finland          37.7                 51.0

Canada           37.3                 29.0

Japan            30.9                 60.0

United States    29.8                 34.0

You might be surprised to learn that the United States has long had the lowest tax rates of any industrialized nation. And how does the level of taxation compare to each nation's standard of living? There are three general ways to measure standard of living: earning power, purchasing power and individual worker productivity. The U.S. has lost its lead in the first and is losing its lead in the other two.

Earning power is defined as GDP per capita, or how much the average citizen earns in a year. It is an important statistic because it measures how advantageously nations trade on the global market. After the Second World War, the U.S. was number one for 40 years. But in the mid-80s, the U.S. suddenly began dropping down the list.

1991 Earning Power2

Switzerland    $35,490

Japan           27,300

Sweden          26,900

Denmark         24,230

Norway          24,150

Finland         24,110

United States   22,550

Canada          20,840

Germany         19,830

Netherlands     19,310

Purchasing power, however, is a rather more accurate measure of standard of living. It shows how much each country pays to buy the same item, say, a loaf of bread. With its large, diverse and well-functioning market, the U.S. has generally enjoyed the lowest real prices in the industrialized world. But, as the chart below shows, it is also true that the purchasing power of other nations has been growing more rapidly than the U.S.' For this reason we should also look at each nation's percentage of the US purchasing power in 1970, and again in 1991.3

               Purchasing     Percent of    Percent of

               Power, 1991    US, 1970      US, 1991

United States  $22,204        --            --

Germany         19,500        75%           88

Canada          19,178        72            86

Japan           19,107        57            86

Denmark         17,621        71            79

Norway          16,904        54            76

Sweden          16,729        77            75

Netherlands     16,530        72            74

Finland         15,997        58            72

The third measure is individual worker productivity. The following chart shows how other nations have been catching up to the U.S. over the decades:

Percent of U.S. individual worker productivity (U.S. = 100%)

                1950s  1960s  1970s  1980s  1990

United States   100%   100    100    100    100

Canada          77.1   80.1   84.2   92.8   95.5

Italy           30.8   43.9   66.4   80.9   85.5

France          36.8   46.0   61.7   80.1   85.3

Germany         32.4   49.1   61.8   77.4   81.1

United Kingdom  53.9   54.3   58.0   65.9   71.9

Japan           15.2   23.2   45.7   62.6   70.7

Unfortunately, the above figures give only a crude measurement of how well each nation lives. There are severe problems with measuring a nation's well-being by productivity alone; perhaps the best analogy is that of a millionaire who wastes all his money on cocaine, compared to an average person who spends it on food, clothing, shelter, education, etc. (More) When one considers exactly how each nation spends its GDP, the weakening of the U.S.' number one position in the world becomes even more apparent.

Where We Stand publishes an index of economic prosperity that takes into account all the following factors: productivity, salaries, equitable wealth distribution, luxury-goods consumption, trading strength, poverty, personal and national indebtedness, inflation control, business strength and credit-worthiness. And the best-off nations are:

Germany         1382

Japan           1363

Switzerland     1332

Canada          1216

United States   1178

Netherlands     1087

Sweden          1079

Norway          1061

United Kingdom  1049

Denmark          920

Finland          910

But let's break down these broad comparisons into their components. Perhaps the most appropriate statistic to begin with is home ownership, the central part of the American Dream: (More)

Home ownership: 



Ireland         82%      Japan           60

Spain           80       Portugal        59

Luxembourg      77       United States   59

Norway          73       Finland         58

Belgium         72       Sweden          55

Greece          72       France          54

Italy           68       Netherlands     46

United Kingdom  67       Germany         40

Canada          64       Switzerland     29

Denmark         60

America's decline in home ownership is symbolic of a larger erosion in living standards, which Americans have met in two ways. The first is that America has gone deeply into debt to maintain its lifestyle. The second is that families have been able to hold ground only because wives have joined their husbands in the work force. (Note: this is a comment on the difficulty of making ends meet, not on working women!) Europe and Japan suffer much less from either of these problems:

Percent of families earning two paychecks:



United States   58%

Japan           33

France          33

Italy           20

Germany         18

Netherlands     16



Average Household Debt



United States   $71,500

United Kingdom   35,500

Germany          27,700

France           27,650

Netherlands       5,000

Switzerland         800



Average Household Savings 



Japan           $45,118

Switzerland      19,971

Denmark          18,405

France           17,649

Germany          17,042

Norway           15,196

Netherlands      14,282

Finland          12,387

Sweden           10,943

United Kingdom    7,451

United States     4,201



Percent of income spent on credit cards:



United Kingdom  12%

United States   10

France           8

Japan            4

Switzerland      3

Netherlands      2

Germany          2



Government debt per person:



Belgium        $16,423

Japan           14,049

United States   12,433

Sweden           9,541

Netherlands      9,368

Canada           8,597

Norway           5,498

United Kingdom   4,635

Finland          2,798

Germany            977



Trade Balance (millions):



Japan          +$77,110

Germany         +76,713

Netherlands      +7,990

Canada           +5,047

Norway           +3,769

Denmark          +2,426

Finland            -250

United Kingdom  -37,958

United States  -113,240



Current Account Balance (millions):



Japan          +$56,783

Germany         +55,477

Netherlands      +6,962

Norway             +226

Denmark          -1,402

Finland          -4,895

Canada          -16,593

United Kingdom  -34,065

United States  -105,900



Investment (percent of GDP):



Japan           30.6%

Norway          28.8

Switzerland     26.6

Finland         24.8

Canada          22.0

Netherlands     21.4

Germany         19.9

Sweden          19.7

United Kingdom  19.2

Denmark         18.0

United States   17.1



INCOME INEQUALITY

As mentioned earlier, America has the greatest inequality of income and wealth in the industrialized world:

Inequality of income (0 = most equal society, 100 = the least equal):



United States   99

Canada          83

Netherlands     82

Switzerland     79

United Kingdom  78

Germany         66

Norway          60

Sweden          60



Average CEO's pay as a multiple of an average

worker's pay:



United States   17.5 (More)

United Kingdom  12.4

Japan           11.6

Canada           9.6

France           8.9

Germany          6.5



Percent of Union Membership in Workforce:



Sweden          85.3%

United Kingdom  41.5

Canada          34.6

Germany         33.8

Japan           26.8

Netherlands     25.0

United States   16.4



Size of Middle Class (More):



Japan           90.0%

Sweden          79.0

Norway          73.4

Germany         70.1

Switzerland     67.2

Netherlands     62.5

Canada          58.5

United Kingdom  58.5

United States   53.7



Poverty level (More):



United States   17.1%

Canada          12.6

United Kingdom  9.7

Switzerland     8.5

Germany         5.6

Sweden          5.3

Norway          5.2



Children under the poverty level:



United States   22.4%

Canada          15.5

United Kingdom   9.3

Switzerland      7.8

Sweden           5.0

Germany          4.9

Norway           4.8



Deaths from malnutrition (per million):



                Men  Women

United States    7    13

France           4     9

Canada           5     7

Japan            2     1

United Kingdom   1     2

Norway           0     1



Head Start (percent of age group enrolled in preschool)



             2-year olds  3-year olds  4-year olds

France          35.7%       96.3         100

Norway          22.8        31.6         44.1

Finland         20.2        16.0         19.6

Germany          9.1        32.3         71.6

United Kingdom   1.3        25.9         69.2

United States    0.0        28.9         49.0



HEALTH CARE



Health Care Expenditures (percent of GDP)4



United States   13.4%

Canada          10.0

Finland          9.1

Sweden           8.6

Germany          8.4

Netherlands      8.4

Norway           7.6

Japan            6.8

United Kingdom   6.6

Denmark          6.5



Doctors' incomes:



United States   $132,300

Germany           91,244

Denmark           50,585

Finland           42,943

Norway            35,356

Sweden            25,768



Percent of population covered by public health care:



ALL NATIONS (except below)    100%

France, Austria                99

Switzerland, Spain, Belgium    98

Germany                        92

Netherlands                    77

United States                  40

Average paid maternity leave (as of 1991; this changed with Clinton's signing of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act):

Sweden          32 weeks

France          28

United Kingdom  18

Norway          18

Denmark         18

Japan           14

Germany         14

Netherlands     12

United States    0



Life Expectancy (years):



                Men    Women

Japan           76.2   82.5

France          72.9   81.3

Switzerland     74.1   81.3

Netherlands     73.7   80.5

Sweden          74.2   80.4

Canada          73.4   80.3

Norway          73.1   79.7

Germany         72.6   79.2

Finland         70.7   78.8

United States   71.6   78.6

United Kingdom  72.7   78.2

Denmark         72.2   77.9



Infant Mortality Rate (per 1,000 live births):



United States   10.4

United Kingdom   9.4

Germany          8.5

Denmark          8.1

Canada           7.9

Norway           7.9

Netherlands      7.8

Switzerland      6.8

Finland          5.9

Sweden           5.9

Japan            5.0



Death rate of 1-to-4 year olds (per community of 200,000 per year):



United States   101.5

Japan            92.2

Norway           90.2

Denmark          85.1

France           84.9

United Kingdom   82.2

Canada           82.1

Netherlands      80.3

Germany          77.6

Switzerland      72.5

Sweden           64.7

Finland          53.3



Death rate of 15-to-24 year olds (per community of 200,000 per year):



United States   203

Switzerland     175

Canada          161

France          156

Finland         154

Norway          128

Germany         122

Denmark         120

United Kingdom  114

Sweden          109

Japan            96

Netherlands      90

Note: the murder rate for the above age group is 48.8 per 200,000. Even subtracting this entirely still puts the U.S. near the top of the list.

Premature Death (years of life lost before the age of 64 per 100 people):

United States   5.8 years

Denmark         4.9

Finland         4.8

Canada          4.5

Germany         4.5

United Kingdom  4.4

Norway          4.3

Switzerland     4.1

Netherlands     4.0

Sweden          3.8

Japan           3.3



Percent of people with normal body mass:



                Men   Women

Germany         53%   37

Finland         51    37

United Kingdom  46    38

Canada          52    29

Switzerland     49    30

France          44    30

Denmark         44    25

United States   47    22

Sweden          44    25

Percent of people who believe their health care system needs fundamental change (More):

United States   60%

Sweden          58

United Kingdom  52

Japan           47

Netherlands     46

France          42

Canada          38



SEX



Percent of all children born out of wedlock:



Sweden          46.4%

Denmark         41.9

United States   21.5

United Kingdom  19.2

Canada          12.1

Germany          9.4

Netherlands      8.3

Switzerland      5.6

Japan            1.0

Having children out of wedlock, however, does not mean that the father is not living at home and offering support. Here is the actual percentage of families headed by single parents:

United States   8.0%

Germany         6.7

Netherlands     6.7

Canada          5.6

Denmark         5.1

France          5.1

United Kingdom  4.0

Sweden          3.2

Japan           2.5

Sex education is more prevalent in Europe than America, where conservatives oppose it on the grounds that it condones sexual behavior. The statistics show the unintended consequences of this policy:

Sexually active teenage population:



Norway          66%

United States   65

United Kingdom  57

Germany         56

Canada          53

Italy           34

France          34



Percent who have not had intercourse by age 20:



               Boys  Girls

Belgium         61     63

Netherlands     58     62

Germany         33     28

Norway          33     25

United Kingdom  24     23

France           9     25

United States   12     16

Percent of sexually active single 15 to 19-year olds using birth control:

Germany         95%

United Kingdom  92

Netherlands     88

Norway          87

Sweden          79

Denmark         70

United States   56



Teen pregnancies per 1,000 teenagers:



United States   98.0

United Kingdom  46.6

Norway          40.2

Canada          38.6

Finland         32.1

Sweden          28.3

Denmark         27.9

Netherlands     12.1

Japan           10.5



Total teen abortions per 1,000 teenagers:



United States   44.4

Norway          21.1

Sweden          19.6

Denmark         18.2

Finland         17.9

United Kingdom  16.9

Canada          16.2

Japan            5.9

Netherlands      5.5



CRIME



People per police officer:



Sweden          328

Canada          358

United Kingdom  400

United States   459

Netherlands     553

Japan           556

Denmark         594

France          632

Finland         643

Norway          661



Annual reports of police brutality (per 100,000 people)



United States   92.5

United Kingdom   6.0

France           0.7 



Prisoners (per 1,000 people):



United States   4.2

United Kingdom  1.0

Germany         0.8

Denmark         0.7

Sweden          0.6

Japan           0.4

Netherlands     0.4



Death row inmates:



United States     2,124

Japan                38

Europe and Canada     0



Percent of households with a handgun:



United States   29%

Finland          7

Germany          7

Canada           5

Norway           4

Europe           4

Netherlands      2

United Kingdom   1

Looking at the above statistics, one would think that Europe is soft on crime, while the U.S. approach to law and order is based on no-nonsense deterrence. In reality, Europe is relatively crime-free, and the U.S. has the worst crime rate in the world:

Murders committed with handguns annually:



United States   8,915

Switzerland        53

Sweden             19

Canada              8

United Kingdom      7



Murder rate (per 100,000 people):



United States   8.40

Canada          5.45

Denmark         5.17

Germany         4.20

Norway          1.99

United Kingdom  1.97

Sweden          1.73

Japan           1.20

Finland         0.70



Murder rate for males age 15-24 (per 100,000 people):



United States   24.4

Canada           2.6

Sweden           2.3

Norway           2.3

Finland          2.3

Denmark          2.2

United Kingdom   2.0

Netherlands      1.2

Germany          0.9

Japan            0.5



Rape (per 100,000 people):



United States   37.20

Sweden          15.70

Denmark         11.23

Germany          8.60

Norway           7.87

United Kingdom   7.26

Finland          7.20

Japan            1.40



Armed robbery (per 100,000 people)



United States   221

Canada           94

United Kingdom   63

Sweden           49

Germany          47

Denmark          44

Finland          38

Norway           22

Japan             1



POLLUTION



Travel on public transportation as a percent of all travel:



Japan           18%

Finland         16

Denmark         15

Portugal        14

Germany         11

Norway           9

United Kingdom   8

Netherlands      8

United States    1



Annual air miles per person:



United States   1,698

Canada          1,105

Netherlands     1,014

United Kingdom    902

Norway            829

Sweden            575

Finland           506

Denmark           476

Japan             425

Germany           344



Average price of a gallon of gas:



Sweden         $4.85

Denmark         4.46

United Kingdom  3.56

Germany         3.05

Netherlands     3.02

Japan           3.01

Canada          1.40

United States   1.07



Energy Units of oil burned annually:



United States       791.5

European Community  501.4

Japan               234.3

Germany             108.5

United Kingdom       81.3

Canada               80.4

Netherlands          24.1

Sweden               16.3

Finland              11.1

Norway                9.3

Denmark               9.0



Carbon dioxide released per person per year:



United States   5.8 tons

Canada          4.8

Germany         3.2

United Kingdom  2.9

Japan           2.2

OECD Europe     1.8



Total Carbon Monoxide emitted annually:



United States   60,900 tons

Canada          10,100

Germany          8,926

France           6,198

United Kingdom   5,264

Sweden           1,754

Netherlands      1,229

Norway             649

Switzerland        621



Total chlorofluorocarbons emitted annually:



United States   332 million tons

Japan            95

Germany          71

United Kingdom   67

Canada           34

Netherlands      17

Switzerland      10

Denmark           6

Finland           6

Sweden            4

Norway            1



Major oil spills (1976-89):



United States   16

France           6

United Kingdom   5

Japan            4

Canada           2

Sweden           2

Finland          1

Germany          1



Forests cleared (thousands of cubic yards):



United States   808,421

Canada          379,500

France           95,964

Sweden           84,612

Finland          72,864

Japan            57,272

Norway           14,810

United Kingdom    6,600



Acid rain (the lower the pH number, the worse the acidity):



Japan           3.9 pH

Sweden          4.1

United States   4.3

Canada          4.3

Norway          4.4

Denmark         4.5

Finland         4.5

Netherlands     4.9

United Kingdom  5.1



Energy Units of coal burned annually:



United States       458.0

European Community  299.0

Germany              73.9

Japan                73.2

United Kingdom       64.0

Canada               27.6

Netherlands           8.1

Denmark               5.5

Finland               4.1

Sweden                2.5

Norway                1.0



Debris inhaled per person per year:



United States   81 pounds

Finland         44

Sweden          44

Europe          26

Netherlands     24

Germany         24

Denmark         20

Norway          15

United Kingdom  11

Japan            2



Government spending on pollution control (percent of GDP):



Japan          1.17%

Netherlands    0.95

Canada         0.89

Germany        0.78

Sweden         0.66

United Kingdom 0.62

United States  0.60

Norway         0.54

Finland        0.52



Municipal waste per person per year (kilograms)5



United States   864 kg.

Canada          632

Japan           394

United Kingdom  353

Germany         331

France          304

Italy           301



Percent of all glass recycled:



Netherlands     50.3%

Japan           49.6

Germany         41.2

Sweden          40.0

Denmark         31.0

Finland         30.0

United Kingdom  27.0

Norway          21.1

United States   20.0



Percent of all paper and cardboard recycled:



Netherlands     62.0%

Japan           54.4

Germany         37.0

Denmark         32.0

United Kingdom  13.0

United States    8.4



WORK AND LEISURE TIME

Note the position of economic powerhouse Germany in the next two lists.

Average hours worked per year:



Japan           2,173

United States   1,890

Sweden          1,808

United Kingdom  1,771

Netherlands     1,756

Finland         1,744

Norway          1,725

Denmark         1,699

Germany         1,668



Average paid vacation per year:



Finland         35.0 days

Germany         30.0

France          25.5

Denmark         25.0

Sweden          25.0

United Kingdom  25.0

Netherlands     24.0

Switzerland     22.0

Norway          21.0

United States   12.0



Average hours spent watching TV per day:



Japan           9:12

United States   7:00

Canada          3:24

United Kingdom  3:10

Germany         2:13

Sweden          2:00

Finland         2:00

Denmark         1:54

Netherlands     1:42

Switzerland     1:34



News as a percent of all TV programming:



Denmark         43%

Sweden          35

Canada          32

Netherlands     25

Germany         20

United Kingdom  17

Japan            6

United States    2



Annual employee turnover in manufacturing:



United States   40%

Finland         35

Germany         25

United Kingdom  20

Sweden          18

Japan           18

France          14

How employers rate their employees (100 = strong identification with company objectives):

Japan           84.7

Switzerland     70.8

Denmark         68.4

Germany         64.3

Norway          60.7

Finland         60.4

Netherlands     58.5

France          57.9

United States   56.4

Sweden          56.0

Canada          52.2

United Kingdom  48.1



Percent of employees fired for cause:



United States       52%

European Community  43



DEMOCRACY

The U.S. may be the oldest existing democracy in the world, but it is also the weakest, and one of the only democracies where voting is not required by law. It shows:

Voter participation:



Germany         87%

Sweden          86

Norway          83

Netherlands     80

Finland         76

United Kingdom  75

Canada          75

United States   49



Average number of national referenda per year:



Switzerland    169

Australia       18

Denmark         11

France          10

Ireland          8

Italy            4

Sweden           3

Norway           1

United Kingdom   1

Canada           0

Finland          0

Germany          0

Japan            0

Netherlands      0

United States    0



Number of political scandals since 1945 (More):



United States   53

United Kingdom  42

France          16

Canada           5

Germany          3

Japan            2

Sweden           2

Netherlands      1

Norway           1

Number of politically motivated demonstrations, strikes, riots and armed attacks over 30 years:

United Kingdom  5,136

United States   4,258

France          1,566

Germany           622

Japan             524

Canada            260

Finland            63

Netherlands        57

Denmark            55

Switzerland        39

Sweden             33

The United Nations Human Freedom Index (0 = least freedom, 40 = most freedom. More.):

Sweden          38

Denmark         38

Netherlands     37

Austria         36

Finland         36

France          35

Germany         35

Canada          34

Switzerland     34

Australia       33

United States   33

Japan           32

United Kingdom  32

CONCLUSION

These statistics are shattering to those who believe that greater individualism and less government somehow produce better societies. And they should serve as a wake-up call to every American that this country is headed in the wrong direction.

These statistics evoke two common responses from conservatives and libertarians. The most natural response is to blame them on 40 years of Democratic government. This, however, is a giant non sequitur. The very point of this list is that nations with far more liberal governments than ours have created better societies, even with somewhat less productivity. If liberalism were really harmful to a nation's standard of living, then these nations should be doing worse, not better.

Moreover, as mentioned earlier, America's truly liberal government was replaced in the mid-70s by the corporate special interest system, which introduced a conservative agenda of tax cuts for the rich and massive deregulation of business. Corporate lobbyists, and not the interchangeable "Republicrats," have influenced legislation over the past 20 years.

The second most common response is that minorities drag down America's statistics. Of course, blaming minorities for society's problems is an old game in American politics, but it is especially dismaying in this case because it is not even true. Take infant mortality rates, for example. White infant mortality rates still place America near the very top of the list. (The following chart deviates slightly from the chart above because it is taken from the year before, 1990, and from a different source using different methodology. But it shows the same trend nonetheless.)

Infant mortality rates (per 1,000 live births, 1990)6



U.S. (average)  9.2

Italy           8.3

U.S. (white)    7.7

United Kingdom  7.4

France          7.3

Germany         7.1

Canada          6.8

Sweden          6.1

Japan           4.6

And consider crime. In 1992, blacks were arrested for 35 percent of all serious crimes.7 But even if you remove blacks entirely from the statistics, America still has the worst crime rate in the world, and by far! (It should also be emphasized that that these were 35 percent of all arrests; debate rages as to whether the police target blacks for arrest more than whites.)

The same generalization holds for all the statistics, but it is important to realize why minorities are not responsible for America's worse showing. And that is because society's most visible problems do not stem primarily from race; they stem from poverty. The poor, both white and black, share the same approximate rates of crime, welfare, teenage and single parenthood, substance abuse and other social problems. The rich, both white and black, share many of the same admired social qualities in the same general percentages. Race is only important in that discrimination against minorities has relegated a disproportionate number of them to poverty. (More)

Ultimately, the fact that America's white statistics are still worse than Europe's should put the race card forever to rest. White Americans are, after all, transplanted Europeans. If their statistics are worse, then it must be for a social reason. And that reason is obvious: polarized wealth in America has enlarged its poor population, and dragged down its averages despite gains among the rich. Clearly, rising tides do not lift all boats.

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1Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics come from the international encyclopedia Where We Stand, by Michael Wolff, Peter Rutten, Albert Bayers III, eds., and the World Rank Research Team (New York: Bantam Books, 1992). The year 1991 was selected because after these dates, the U.S. turned slightly to the left and Northern Europe slightly to the right (although one could plausibly argue that very little changed in any of these nations). Therefore, 1991 provides the best date for comparing a decade of Reaganomics with 30 years of social democracy. Although Where We Stand compares dozens of nations on most lists, I have limited my comparisons to the U.S., Northern Europe, Japan and Canada. I have included every nation from this group I could find; omissions in my lists reflect omissions in Where We Stand.
2Earning power is calculated by deflating each nationís GNP to local 1991 currency before conversion to U.S. dollar equivalents. GNP figures from U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, World Military Expenditures and Arms Transfers, 1991. Data for exchange rates from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
3Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France, National Accounts of OECD Countries, annual.
4 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France, OECD Health Data, 1993; OECD Health Systems: Facts and Trends, 1993.
5 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France, Environmental Indicators, 1991.
6 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris, France, OECD in Figures: Statistics on the Member Countries (supplement to the OECD Observer, June-July 1993).
7 U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States, 1992.